Sindh ready to run gas utility’s affairs to meet winter energy needs

Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh has said the provincial government is ready to run the affairs of the Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd (SSGC) if the gas utility of the region lacks the ability to fulfil the energy needs of the residents of the province as per the constitution.

He showed the willingness to this effect as he wrote a letter, dated January 14, to Federal Energy Minister Hamaad Azhar on the acute gas shortfall being faced by the residents of the province in general and by the inhabitants of Karachi in particular.

In the letter, Sheikh said the federal government should direct its subsidiary institution, the SSGC, to meet the gas demand of the people of Sindh in accordance with the constitution.

He mentioned in the letter that Sindh accounted for up to two-thirds of the indigenous production of natural gas in the country, but even then the residents of the province did not get the chance to meet their energy requirements during winters.

The energy minister said the compressed natural gas stations had been completely shut in the province, while domestic, commercial and industrial gas consumers had also been facing acute hardships during the current season.

He said the SSGC had reduced the gas supply to Sindh to a mere 760 MMCFD while gas produced from the wells of Khairpur, Ghotki, Kandhkot and Dadu in Sindh was being diverted and supplied to the network in the upcountry related the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd (SNGPL).

Sheikh said the gas produced in Sindh shouldn’t be diverted to the network of the SNGPL given that Article-158 of the constitution made it binding upon the federal authorities to supply gas produced in the province to its residents on a priority basis. He mentioned in the letter that Sindh was better able to run the affairs of the gas utility of the region as per the provisions of the constitution.

He asked Hammad Azhar to visit Karachi and meet the representatives concerned of the industry, CNG sector and public in order to listen firsthand to their grievances concerning the energy shortfall in the country.

He also said the Sindh government was ready to hold a dialogue with the stakeholders on the issue of energy security of Pakistan in order to utilise much cheaper and indigenously available power resources for lowering the energy bills of the masses.

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